2 weeks in PNW late-June: How much is doable?

Sep 7th, 2016, 07:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 68
2 weeks in PNW late-June: How much is doable?

Hi there,

My husband and I are planning a trip to the Pacific northwest in mid/late June. We will likely be flying into Seattle and then renting a car to explore Portland, including River Gorge area and the Oregon coast. We also are interested in spending a couple days in Vancouver. We have 2 weeks, including 3 weekends. We would love to see Crater Lake, but that seems like it might be too out of the way.

What are your must-sees in this area and how much time would you allot for each?

Also, what are the best day trips from Seattle? I'm interested in Bainbridge Island, but do you think its worth it?

We are 25 and very comfortable fitting a lot into a short period of time!

We also considered just doing Seattle and Vancouver and tacking it onto a 7-day Alaska cruise..any opinions on that?

Thanks so much!
cchamp is offline  
Sep 7th, 2016, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,432
In my view, Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, Columbia Gorge, Crater Lake and the Oregon coast in two weeks is too much. You'd be flying past things or missing them altogether.

We also considered just doing Seattle and Vancouver and tacking it onto a 7-day Alaska cruise..any opinions on that?

Of course that's an apples-oranges question; they'd be very different kinds of vacations.

However I think the cruise + land option is worth exploring further, provided you know what you're getting into.

First, there are two kinds of Alaska cruises - round trips and one-way. The round trip cruises depart both Seattle and Vancouver and only go as far north as the southeast "panhandle" of Alaska - Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan etc. - while the one-way cruises travel between southcentral Alaska (Whittier or Seward, both connected by road/rail to Anchorage) and Vancouver (not Seattle due to US maritime law.) Cruises out of Vancouver are more scenic and on calmer water than those out of Seattle due to the routes taken by the cruise lines.

Both types of cruises are for 7 nights; however it would be a shame to take the one-way cruise if you didn't have enough time - at least four or five days - to explore southcentral Alaska - Denali National Park, Kenai Peninsula etc. - before or after the cruise. So that would compromise any time you'd have farther south.

So coming back to your original question... Could you do a big loop in two weeks that includes your list? Yes, but - even leaving Crater Lake out - it would be pretty full. By June some places on the coast require minimum stays; that might or might not work with your plans.

Frankly (and not knowing your tastes this is a stretch) I'd be inclined to suggest a cruise + 2 city trip, but not Vancouver and Seattle but Vancouver and Portland instead.

Here's what I'd do: Fly to Portland, not Seattle, get a car and spend a few days exploring the city and the area around it, especially the Columbia River Gorge and the Mount Hood area. In June the waterfalls along the gorge walls will be full of water, you can still ski on Mount Hood or windsurf (or watch them) at Hood River. There are craft breweries and food trucks all over the region, hikes to pristine lakes... more than you can imagine.

Then drop the car and take the train to Seattle. Spend a day or two in our fair city (but during cruise season also our VERY expensive and VERY crowded fair city) visiting various sights, including a ferry ride (Bainbridge is a pleasant suburb, nothing more) or just the little water taxi across Elliott Bay for Mai-tais and Spam musubi at Marination Ma Kai on the water taxi dock. (Google it.)

Then take the train up to Vancouver. Explore that wonderful city then hop on the boat and get your eyeballs ready for some amazing experiences. Any lack of coastal scenery you'll have experienced in WA/OR will be made up within a couple of hours.

Just my suggestion.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 7th, 2016, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,374
Why Bainbridge Island specifically? It is a residential suburb with little of the "away from it all" that the word island conjures up. It's nice enough, and there are some attractions (Bloedel Reserve...Google it). The main reason that BI pops up in these forums is the ferry ride back to Seattle, especially at sunset; the cityscape is beautiful.
Bobmrg is offline  
Sep 7th, 2016, 08:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 68
Great- thanks! So just to clarify- Portland (including River Gorge/Mount Hood), Seattle, train to Vancouver, then Alaska Cruise including a few land days. Any recommendations for the land portion?
cchamp is offline  
Sep 7th, 2016, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 92,297
The only reason Bainbridge Island gets mentioned (imo) is because it's a nice walk-on ferry ride over and back from downtown Seattle. I don't consider it a destination in its own right for any reason.

Sure an Alaska cruise and a week in Seattle/Vancouver works.

As does two weeks including Oregon and Washington.

Just depends which more interests you.
suze is offline  
Sep 7th, 2016, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,987
No way do you have enough time for "Portland (including River Gorge/Mount Hood), Seattle, train to Vancouver, then Alaska Cruise including a few land days." Pause and consider what you want most out of this trip. Then plan the rest of the trip around that. If you want to of the Alaska cruise, then you will need to have more limited goals in the Seattle/Portland area.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 7th, 2016, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,432
Right, my (imaginary) itinerary for the Portland + cruise plan would be something like this -

Day 1 Sat Arr Portland
2 Sun Portland/Gorge/Hood
3 Mon P/G/H
4 Tue P/G/H
5 Wed P/G/H - PM to Seattle
6 Thu Seattle, PM to Vancouver
7 Fri Vancouver
8 Sat Vancouver
9 Sun Cruise
10 Mon Cruise
11 Tue Cruise
12 Wed Cruise
13 Thu Cruise
14 Fri Cruise
15 Sat Cruise
16 Sun Depart
Gardyloo is online now  
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